Stuttgart, July 1, 2021 – Today, urban air mobility (UAM) pioneer Volocopter and international logistics leader DB Schenker announced that they have successfully conducted a joint static proof of concept (PoC) at the Messe Stuttgart for VoloDrone ground operations in logistics centers. Together, the partners are creating the first blueprint for ground operations of electric cargo drones in logistics with the support of the Fraunhofer Institute for Material Flow and Logistics.
The Static PoC tested how logistics operators can manage personnel, payloads, automated ground vehicles and VoloDrones to create an efficient process and a safe environment for future VoloDrone operations. The model derived from these results will be the first of its kind and will serve as the basis for the integration of VoloDrone operations into logistics networks around the world, thus realizing ambitions of automation and sustainability in supply chains.
Christian Bauer, CCO of Volocopter, says: “By developing a model for VoloDrone operations, Volocopter is paving the way for the next dimension of transport logistics with tangible and operational data underpinning our service requests. Our work with DB Schenker shows that they are an excellent investor, a valuable partner and a catalyst for our VoloDrone business operations. “
Research teams from Volocopter, DB Schenker and Fraunhofer IML simulated the integration of VoloDrone into a logistics network by examining ground-based cargo coding processes, assessing loads and secure cargo, testing the automated supply of the drone via autonomous vehicles and identifying necessary pre-flight cargo checks. As a result of this, the processes of transporting and loading the VoloDrone payload were conducted and reviewed in order to identify standard and safe procedures for the ground workers preparing the VoloDrone for flight.
Erik Wirsing, Global Head of Innovation at DB Schenker, commented: “The VoloDrone opens up new possibilities for the logistics industry, and it represents a key part of DB Schenker’s innovation and sustainability roadmap for logistics. Volocopter’s leadership in this emerging urban air mobility industry is particularly evident in its practical solutions, customer-centric approach and commitment to bringing UAM to life.
Since the start of their collaboration in mid-2019, Volocopter and DB Schenker have been developing the VoloDrone for commercial launch and evaluating the use cases of business-to-business drone services in logistics. The VoloDrone, Volocopter’s versatile and heavy cargo drone, is battery-powered, can carry a payload of 200 kg up to 40 km and has 18 rotors and motors powering the electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft. . This UAM solution for intra-urban logistics will work within Volocopter’s UAM ecosystem for cities, which also consists of passenger mobility services (VoloCity and VoloConnect), their infrastructure (VoloPort) and a digital backbone for coordinate and visualize all operations in real time (VoloIQ). The automated mobile robots for this PoC were provided by DB Schenker’s partner, Gideon Brothers, a pioneer in autonomous mobile robotics.
Once finalized, the master plan will be available to project partners under a nondisclosure agreement.
Volocopter is building the world’s first sustainable and scalable urban air mobility company to deliver affordable air taxi services to mega-cities around the world. With the VoloCity, the company is developing the first fully electric “eVTOL” aircraft certified to transport passengers safely and with complete peace of mind in cities. Volocopter leads and cooperates with partners in infrastructure, operations and air traffic management to create the ecosystem needed to “bring urban air mobility to life”.
In 2011, Volocopter performed the very first crewed flight of a purely electric multicopter and has since presented numerous public flights with its full-size aircraft. Most notable were the public test flights at Marina Bay in Singapore in October 2019 and the world’s first autonomous eVTOL flight in Dubai 2017. Volocopter is also developing products for the logistics space with its heavy cargo variant, the VoloDrone .
Founded in 2011 by Stephan Wolf and Alexander Zosel, Volocopter has 400 employees in offices in Bruchsal, Munich and Singapore. The company has raised a total of 322 million euros in equity. Volocopter’s investors include, among others, Daimler, Geely, DB Schenker, BlackRock and Intel Capital.
For more information: www.volocopter.com
About DB Schenker
With around 74,200 employees at more than 2,100 sites in more than 130 countries, DB Schenker is one of the world’s leading logistics providers. The company operates land, air and sea transportation services, and also offers complete solutions for logistics and global supply chain management from a single source. DB Schenker holds leading positions in automotive, technology, consumer goods, trade fair logistics, special transport and special event logistics. www.dbschenker.comBlog.dbschenker.com
About Fraunhofer IML
The Fraunhofer Institute for Material Flow and Logistics IML is the partner of choice for research in integrated logistics. It is involved in all areas of internal and external logistics. In accordance with the Fraunhofer concept, solutions to problems of immediate use in business are developed on the one hand, but initial research is also carried out on the other hand for periods of two to five years, or even longer in some cases. Currently, 315 scientists as well as 250 doctoral students and students work at the institute founded in 1981, supported by colleagues in workshops, laboratories and services.